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Player, coach exit in style

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By Brian Forbes

LITTLETON — Former Columbine soccer coach Peter Horvath got to reprise a familiar role Aug. 3, while former Chatfield defender Tommy Fritze played an unfamiliar position at the annual Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association all-state game.

Horvath, who was on the ground floor when the CHSCA was founded many years ago, was honored between the girls and boys games at Littleton Public Schools Stadium by longtime Heritage coach Tony Hurt. Family, and a new generation of prep coaches that seem bent on maintaining the old paths surrounded Horvath.

“It’s nice to see the changing of the guard,” he said. “We’re all not going to stay in there forever.”

Horvath, who retired from coaching the Columbine program, was one of three coaches leading the Black team against the White team.

And that’s where Fritze came in.

Fritze, who in a couple weeks will report for soccer at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., started the first and second half as a center midfielder.

“It was great,” Fritze said. “It was my first game in nine months.”

Fritze’s Black squad lost 4-3 on penalty kicks after the teams – comprised of incoming juniors, seniors and recent graduates from around the state – played to an enthralling 4-4 tie during regulation.

For playing out of position, Fritze looked pretty comfortable leading the Black squad to quick start that eventually turned into a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Fritze notched an assist six minutes into the second half as the Black squad went up 3-1 and he registered a shot on goal with a low volley off a cross by former Kent Denver standout Alec Peter.

Fritze nearly opened the scoring with a header off Peter’s corner kick in the 16th minute. Fritze was linking well early on with Peter, Daniel Whittle of Lewis-Palmer and Preston Davis of Legacy, but he left the field in the first half with the score 0-0.

The Black squad clung to a 3-2 lead by time Fritze was substituted in the second half, but two goals in four minutes by the White squad forced the Black to rally. David Armstrong from Rangeview, who is considered one of the top prep prospects in the state, tied the game at 4-4 to send the game to penalty kicks.

With defense not the main focus, both teams raced up and down the pitch with connecting passes, wide runs and lots of shots.

“It was pretty good soccer,” Horvath said. “Everybody wants to score goals. But that’s good, though, they should score goals.”

Scott Branson, a defender from Rock Canyon, won the match in the sixth round of the penalty kicks after Scott Kocel of Cheyenne Mountain had missed the goal with his try. The goalkeepers combined for four saves in the penalty shootout.